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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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all strengthen parents' preferences for having fewer births and for investing more resources in each offspring. The motivation for these changes in parental behavior is found in a microeconomic conceptual framework: the costs of childbearing have risen and the returns to more prolonged education and vocational training have also risen. The next section reviews some empirical evidence in support of this interpretation of the relations between the environment of parents and their reproductive and economic behavior.
To explore a hypothesis regarding the determinants of reproductive behavior, it has been assumed that parents' preferences and the opportunities and constraints of their living environment exert a perceptible influence on their actual reproductive behavior. This hypothesis has been tested by statistical analyses of interregional variation in fertility (birth rates and child/ women ratios) in Puerto Rico, Colombia, Taiwan, and Egypt. Analysis of the environment and reproductive histories of a sample of married women from the Philippines and East Pakistan have also confirmed several aspects of this hypothesis at the family level. These studies are reported fully elsewhere; a summary of the empirical findings must suffice here.*
In each of the six countries, certain relevant features of the parents' environment can be measured, while others cannot. The omission or indirect measurement of some of these variables poses analytical problems. The simultaneous determination of reproductive behavior within the complex of adult decisions pertaining to education, marriage, labor force participation, and migration introduce additional statistical biases that can be dealt with, albeit imperfectly, only in the studies of Egypt, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. Nevertheless, despite certain specification, measurement, and estimation problems, these empirical investigations find statistically significant multi-variate associations between fertility and the features of the parents' environment that are thought likely to modify the number of births parents would want. In particular, two links between the environment and reproductive behavior emerge as quantitatively and statistically significant.
First, birth rates are not independent of death rates. Reduction in child death rates does not necessarily worsen the population problem by accelerating the rate of population growth, except in the short run. In Puerto Rico and Taiwan, the reduction of death rates appears to have fostered the signif-
should also be included in conceptual and empirical investigations when they remain independent of the economic environment, or when they adjust only sluggishly to the changes in the observed environment, and when they exert a separate influence on reproductive (and economic) behavior.
*A variety of multivariatc linear regression models were employed in these studies, and the general results reported here were insensitive to alternate model specifications